Social Security benefits are lower for women than for men
- The average Social Security benefit for women 65 and older is about $13,100 per year, compared to about $17,200 for men 65 and older.
Women rely even more on income from Social Security than men do
- On average, female beneficiaries 65 and older receive nearly 61 percent of their family income from Social Security, compared to 55 percent for male beneficiaries 65 and older.
- For nearly three in ten female beneficiaries 65 and older (29 percent), Social Security is virtually the only source of income (90 percent or more). Just over two in ten male beneficiaries (23 percent) rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income.
- The percentage of female beneficiaries who rely on Social Security for virtually all of their income almost doubles with age: from 21 percent for women 65-69 to about 38 percent for women 80 and older. Male beneficiaries’ reliance on Social Security increases with age to a lesser extent: from 17 percent for men 65-69 to 28 percent for men 80 and older.
Unmarried women rely more on income from Social Security than married women do
- For more than 35 percent of unmarried female beneficiaries 65 and older, including beneficiaries who are widowed, divorced, or never married, Social Security is virtually the only source of income (90 percent or more), compared to less than 22 percent of married female beneficiaries 65 and older.
Social Security provides disability and life insurance benefits that are especially important to women of color and their families
- Minority women disproportionately rely on Social Security disability benefits.
- More than one in four black women (26 percent) and more than one in five other women of color (21 percent) who receive Social Security receive benefits as disabled workers. In comparison, 12 percent of white women who receive Social Security receive benefits as disabled workers.
- Social Security provides a lifeline to families when a worker is disabled or dies.
Social Security is a critical anti-poverty program for women and their families
- Social Security lifted nearly 22.2 million people out of poverty in 2012:
- Nearly 15.3 million people 65 and older, including nearly 9.0 million women;
- Over 5.9 million adults 18-64, including over 3.1 million women; and
- Over 1.0 million children.
- Social Security dramatically reduced poverty rates for older women in 2012:
- From nearly one half (49 percent) to 11 percent for all women 65 and older; and
- From two-thirds (67 percent) to 19 percent for women 65 and older living alone. 
Despite Social Security, older women remain at greater risk of poverty than older men
- Among people 65 and older, more than twice as many women (2.6 million) as men (1.3 million) lived in poverty in 2012.
- The poverty rate for women 65 and older was 11 percent, compared to six percent for men 65 and older.
- The poverty rate for women 65 and older living alone was 19 percent, compared to 12 percent for men 65 and older living alone.
- Poverty rates were particularly high, at about one in five, for black (21 percent) and Hispanic (22 percent) women 65 and older and more than one in four (27 percent) for Native American women 65 and older. Poverty rates were nine percent for white, non-Hispanic women 65 and older, and 12 percent for Asian women 65 and older.